A slightly glum update (and a links round-up)

Hi everyone. Hi hello. I know I have not been answering your lovely comments or visiting your lovely blogs in the manner to which you have become accustomed. I’m sorry. I have been undergoing some life changes this summer, and although they are good ones, I have now been in flux for the greater part of four months, and I am reaching the end of my ability to cope with change. Or new information. Or new books. Or hobbies I enjoy, such as blogging. I am anxious like my head is full of bees. I am worried about the storm, and the Nazis, and whether the revised version of my life that I have taken some trouble to construct this summer will shortly come crashing down around my stupid, change-courting ears.

Anyway, not that anyone was sitting at home like “huh where is Jenny,” but that is where I have been. Undergoing changes and fretting about them. Not reading very much. I am not at my best, but also (ofc) feeling extremely guilty for not being at my best. Like who am I that I deserve to have days — entire weeks actually! — when I am not at my best? NOBODY, THAT’S WHO.

Oh, you know what’s a book I did read? I read a picture book about a girl who never makes mistakes. I loved it at once and it was #lifegoals but then, can you believe, as the book goes on, the girl makes an enormous, a genuinely mortifying mistake that would scar a real child for life; or if not that, then it would surely create in her a renewed desire to, from there on out, achieve perfection in all things. But in this NONSENSE PICTURE BOOK, do you know what happens? She resigns herself to making mistakes sometimes. HAH. The little girl in the picture book is WEAK and took the COMPLETELY WRONG LESSON away from her awful, humiliating error. What a terrible book.

Whatever. Here are some links.

On the whiteness of craft culture.

Extremist hate groups understood online platforms in a fundamental way long before the New York Times cottoned on, reports New York Times writer who doesn’t listen to black women on Twitter. (I’m being snarky, but this article makes some interesting points about how online platforms function, which is why I’m sharing it.)

Why judging the poor isn’t helping anybody.

Michael Twitty, author of a new book about black heritage and black food in the South, speaks to Hannah Giorgis of The Ringer about his family and his research.

Daniel Heath Justice on the students he teaches and the question of whether they are special snowflakes who don’t live in the real world. And a pairing: Kiese Laymon on people he knew at Vassar and their power and privilege.

MUMSY DO NOT CLICK THIS NEXT LINK. I WANT TO TELL YOU THIS STORY MYSELF. Everyone else, definitely click this next link. Okay Mumsy it is all right, I have now told you this story. Click away.

Watching the YA community doggedly figure out why Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give got bumped down to number two on the NYT Bestseller List by a book nobody had ever heard of was frankly magical. Here’s a YA literary agent breaking down why this story was so bonkers.

Speaking of scams, here’s an author who has lied about pretty much everything, including I SWEAR TO GOD making up an agent, building that fictional agent a website, and using a picture of Ian Somerhalder for that agent’s face. What is this world.

Wesley Morris on white supremacy in the pop culture of this summer.

“Jenny when will you stop linking to everything Ijeoma Iluo writes?” IDK friends but today is not that day. Here she is making me cry on the subject of talking to your kids about race early and often.

Have an amazing weekend! I will be inside my apartment all weekend trying to reconstruct my fractured ego.

Research Topics for the Weekend: A Links Round-Up

Happy Friday! There are no more good weeks in our barren world; there are only weeks where the world falls apart. Eat cheese and chocolate accordingly, and plan to call your senators a whole lot next week.

The always-marvelous Angelica Jade Bastien unpacks the debate about black American and British actors.

This isn’t new, but I hadn’t seen it before: An interactive self-care guide that is legit pretty great.

If you’ve read The Thief and The Queen of Attolia, may I direct your attention to this Tor.com appreciation of Eugenides? It contains significant spoilers for two eminently spoilable books, so don’t click if you haven’t read them.

Dude movie stars are getting too many muscles, says Vulture. I….do not disagree with this. Chris Evans’s arms in Civil War are pretty great tho.

This excerpt from the new book Hearththrobs is pretty fucking great. The goal of making me want to read Hearthrobs is achieved thereby.

Wesley Morris writes about Bill Maher with the perfect degree of contempt and world-weariness. Plus a hell of a kicker.

This Buzzfeed article on Trump-inspired rhetoric in schools made me really sad. Also squares with some stuff I’ve heard from teacher friends.

Since we’re interviewing Zan Romanoff for next week’s podcast, I am in the midst of a desultory deep dive into One Direction history. Here’s her explainer on the group.

Some thoughts on sex work and its decriminalization (a topic about which I am soon going to educate myself more thoroughly).

One time I asked my dear, good friend Julia to teach me how to be a Wikipedia editor, and she was all gung-ho for it. She was like “Okay, first of all, pick a username that doesn’t indicate in any way that you might be a woman, and also don’t let it be connected to any other username you’ve ever used for anything anywhere on the internet, no matter how long ago,” and I was like “ha ha never mind, this sounds awful.” I felt bad for disappointing her, but on the other hand, this article.

Have a wonderful weekend, my darlings! I will be reading up on One Direction, South African history, and the decriminalization of sex work.

Post-Election Links Round-Up

Manuel Gonzales

NK Jemisin

Nicole Chung

Mira Jacob

Masha Gessen

Vann R. Newkirk II

Rebecca Traister

Rembert Browne

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham

A whole bunch of writers of many genres

Stay safe, guys.

I Am an Aunt: A Links Round-Up

I’m an aunt, y’all! Wooooooooo! Truly it is the happiest of Fridays! Though I can’t transmit my joy directly into your brains, I will nevertheless do my best to give you some happiness in the form of excellent links. Enjoy!

In case you missed it, I wrote a fandom vocabulary primer for the Oxford Dictionaries blog.

The goddess Alexandra Petri (the woman who brought us Emo Kylo Ren) outlines the Great American Novel.

A history of Harry Potter fandom.

The Seattle Seahawks made a loud noise about the statement they were planning to make before their opening game, but what they said was a whole lot of nothing.

“Modern patriotism has become Kabuki citizenship”: Wesley Morris burns the house down, per usual, in this piece on Colin Kaepernick for the New York Times; as does Rembert Browne for NYMag. These Grantland alums, I’m telling you!

If you believe that a frown is a thing you do with your mouth, this article is going to mess you up.

GUESS WHAT KATE BISHOP COMIC

I know it’s sad when a marriage ends, but also, my first instinct was to be excited for whatever Sam Donsky and Anne Helen Peterson were going to have to say about it, and they did not disappoint. I am just so fascinated by celebrity narrative-crafting.

Kiese Laymon on what the American flag means to him.

It’s time to retire the Rom-Com Bitch, says Bim Adewunmi, with an admirably thorough analysis that includes MY BELOVED While You Were Sleeping.

Let’s Hope August Is Better: A Links Round-Up

Alton Sterling was killed in Louisiana (which is where I live) on Tuesday, July 5th. Roxane Gay talks about his life and his death. Rembert Browne on people who don’t want anyone not like them to exist at all. Ijeoma Olua on the tragedy in Dallas and how we should (and shouldn’t) respond to it. Ta-Nehisi Coates on the unbreakable link between violence by police officers and violence against them.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter pulling out of the Pride parade in San Francisco due to increased police presence, some thoughts on the disconnect between the two major civil rights fights of our day.

A profile of our nation’s top ASL interpreter for hip-hop artists. My one complaint about this article is that it does not include sufficient videos of Amber Galloway Gallego being awesome.

Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer spent four months as a guard in a for-profit prison in Louisiana and wrote a massive report on it. It’s basically exactly what you’d expect from our broken-ass prison system.

Suki Kim, author of Without You There Is No Us, talks about categorizing her book (a work of investigative journalism) as a memoir, and the persistent devaluing of women’s work. It made me scrutinize my own reaction to the ethics of her book, and I hope I’ll be more cognizant of that when reviewing journalism by women in the future.

Why plots are so important (also, has anyone read Emily Barton’s book, The Book of Esther? I am tentatively interested but want more information from y’all).

Your summer comic book recommendations, from Kieron Gillen, Kate Leth, and Marjorie Liu. Bid adieu to your productivity.

Queerbaiting in Captain America

The Millions released their book preview for the second half of 2016, and it is EPIC. I also discovered just yesterday that there’s a nonfiction one too.

THE SCIENCE OF BOOKS: All books everywhere with no exceptions whatsoever1 follows one of six emotional arcs. Oh how I love a taxonomy, my precious.

Rumaan Alam inquires what makes a book diverse, and wonders if his own novel — about straight white women — can be considered diverse.2

On Twitter last week I told a story about a good dog from history that doesn’t die tragically. You can read that story here.

Finally, and completely frivolously, please enjoy this wonderful review of the Blake Lively shark movie by Wesley Morris (one of my favorite cultural critics ever), which is brilliant on the subject of interchangeable celebrities.

  1. This may be hyperbole
  2. Pet peeve: A BOOK cannot be diverse. Groups can be diverse, an individual cannot. Dictionary Curmudgeon Gin Jenny urges you to get off her lawn.